• Confessions of a Community College Dean

    In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.

Title

Virtual Student Life

Moving extracurricular engagement online.

April 1, 2020
 
 

We’ve spent so much time and energy focusing on moving the curricular part of college online that I haven’t seen much discussion of the extracurricular part.

Have you seen a college do a particularly good job of moving student life and activities online?

Admittedly, it’s early days. And I honestly don’t know how much student demand there is or would be, given how many pins many people are juggling. But there have to be some students who would benefit from connecting with other students, even if only to slake the boredom of isolation.

Given the abrupt midsemester switch to off-campus work, plenty of activities got interrupted. Most sports can’t be played from home, for instance. Esports sometimes can, but I’m told that the more sophisticated and competitive ones require levels of hardware (and low levels of latency) unlikely to be available to many from home. Soccer, not at all.

Some student clubs are probably chugging along nicely on their own, riding a combination of momentum from the first part of the semester and online communication. But as with abruptly remote learning, that’s an emergency patch.

My own college has quickly put together a list of resources that students can access online from wherever, including museums, national parks, a panda cam and workouts. It’s a terrific resource and I’m glad it’s there, but by necessity, it’s piggybacking on already-existing external resources. I’m looking for examples of student-driven online extracurriculars.

Wise and worldly readers, this is a shameful effort to steal ideas and bring them home. That said, in the spirit of honor among thieves, have you seen anything intriguing?

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